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Infrastructure

Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function. It can be generally defined as the set of interconnected structural elements that provide framework supporting an entire structure of development. It is an important term for judging a country or region's development.

The term typically refers to the technical structures that support a society, such as roads, bridges, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, telecommunications, and so forth, and can be defined as "the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions."

Viewed functionally, infrastructure facilitates the production of goods and services, and also the distribution of finished products to markets, as well as basic social services such as schools and hospitals; for example, roads enable the transport of raw materials to a factory. In military parlance, the term refers to the buildings and permanent installations necessary for the support, redeployment, and operation of military forces.

Communications infrastructure

  • Postal service, including sorting facilities
  • Telephone networks (land lines) including telephone exchange systems
  • Mobile phone networks
  • Television and radio transmission stations, including the regulations and standards governing broadcasting
  • Cable television physical networks including receiving stations and cable distribution networks (does not include content providers or "networks" when used in the sense of a specialized channel such as CNN or MTV)
  • The Internet, including the internet backbone, core routers and server farms, local internet service providers as well as the protocols and other basic software required for the system to function (does not include specific websites, although may include some widely-used web-based services, such as social network services and web search engines)
  • Communications satellites
  • Undersea cables
  • Major private, government or dedicated telecommunications networks, such as those used for internal communication and monitoring by major infrastructure companies, by governments, by the military or by emergency services, as well as national research and education networks
  • Pneumatic tube mail distribution networks